Date of Graduation

Summer 8-7-2020

Document Type

Project/Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

College/School

School of Nursing and Health Professions

First Advisor

Dr. Kelly L'Engle

Abstract

Introduction. Mental illness (MI) stigma is common and causes adverse consequences such as reduced self-esteem and discrimination in housing and employment. Bring Change to Mind (BC2M), a national non-profit organization, strives to reduce this stigma through their high school club program. The evaluation goals were to assess the program’s operations and measure club members’ and advisors’ attitudes and perceptions around mental health (MH) and MI.

Methods. Qualtrics surveys were used to gather information from general club members (GCMs) (N=645), club advisors (N=97), and graduating seniors (N=57). BC2M staff held 52 small group discussions with club leaders. Data analysis was conducted in R and NVivo.

Results. As a result of the clubs’ work, positive benefits were reported for both GCMs and non-member students (e.g., perceived improved empathy/understanding, increased MH conversations and awareness, reduced MI stigma). Participants reported that the club increased knowledge of both general MH and of specific MIs. GCMs viewed their club as a safe space where they could discuss MH without judgment. The main challenges that clubs faced included needing more physical resources and guidance/tips for club operations (e.g., member recruitment and engagement, general student body awareness).

Discussion. GCMs view their clubs as communities where they can discuss and learn about MH and MI. Through activities/events, BC2M’s high school clubs are affecting perceived change across their campuses, normalizing MH and MI, and destigmatizing MI. Suggestions were provided for how BC2M could improve their clubs, such as increasing member diversity and supplying additional resources (e.g., recruitment tips, community connections).

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